The Del Norte Warriors and Eureka Loggers will face off in Crescent City on Saturday with the Big 5 lead on the line.
Both teams won for the second time in two league games on Thursday night, with the Warriors beating Fortuna 54-39 in Del Norte and the Loggers topping Arcata 62-48 in Eureka.
Kaitlin Giacone scored a co-game-high 19 points for Eureka, as the Loggers won their third straight game and improved to 14-4 on the season.
“I thought in the first half we did good,” head coach Cliff Napoleon said. “I thought our intensity was up, we played solid D and got running.
“And then in the second half, we failed to understand what was going on in the game. We had a lot of silly fouls which stopped the game and we didn’t adjust.
“But it was a great learning experience for us tonight. It helps the girls understand the game better and how to adjust in the game.”
Moriah Bowles also had a good game offensively and finished with 13 points, while Aniah Gaither added 11 points and Isis Poteet eight.
Nora Talty continued to impress for the Tigers and also scored 19 points, while Melanie Luh finished with 10 points and Leitala Vainuku eight.
The loss was the third straight for the Arcata girls, who dropped to 1-2 in the Big 5 and 9-8 overall.
Next up, the Tigers will try to get back to winning ways when they host Del Norte on Tuesday night.
The Loggers, meanwhile, will travel to play the Warriors this weekend and will carry plenty of momentum into the key showdown.
Up in Crescent City, meanwhile, sophomore Brooklyn Carter had a big game for the Warriors and scored a game-high 16 points in their first game in nine days.
“We played a pretty balanced game,” head coach Justin Clifton said. “And they kept up the intensity.”
Lili Nunez had another outstanding all-around game and finished with 11 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and a couple of steals.
“She really controlled the ball, forcing double teams and finding the open player,” Clifton said of the junior point guard.
The teams “Bigs,” according to the coach, were particularly instrumental in the win and did a good job rebounding the ball.
Stutes also had eight points, while Gorbet had six points.
Anyessa Bettega added five points, as the impressive Warriors improved to 13-3.
The Huskies, meanwhile, lost their fourth straight in league play, but made the Warriors battle all the way and earned the respect of the Del Norte coach.
“My hat goes off to (head coach) Tom (Chapman) and the Fortuna,” Clifton said. “They came to play. We were just a little bit better than they were tonight.”
Next up, Fortuna plays at St. Bernard’s on Tuesday night.
Saturday’s game in Crescent City tips off at 2 p.m.